Organic anion transporting polypeptides expressed in pancreatic cancer may serve as potential diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets for early stage adenocarcinomas

Pharm Res. 2013 Sep;30(9):2260-9. doi: 10.1007/s11095-012-0962-7. Epub 2013 Jan 11.


Purpose: Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptides (OATPs) are expressed in various epithelial tissues in the body. Because they can be expressed in cancers and because they can transport anticancer drugs, OATPs could be potential targets for cancer therapy. Therefore we examined their expression in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas.

Methods: Expression of all 11 human OATPs was measured at the mRNA level and OATPs with highest expression were characterized at the protein level.

Results: Transcripts of SLCO1B3, SLCO2A1, SLCO3A1 and SLCO4A1 were detected in all the tested pancreatic tissues. OATP1B3, OATP2A1, OATP3A1 and OATP4A1 protein expression was confirmed in these tissues and expression of all four transporters increased in pancreatic adenocarcinoma compared to normal pancreas. OATP1B3 expression was highest in pancreatic hyperplasia and stage one adenocarcinomas compared to stage two and three adenocarcinomas.

Conclusion: OATP1B3, OATP2A1, OATP3A1 and OATP4A1 are up-regulated in pancreatic adenocarcinoma and could potentially be used to target anticancer drugs to pancreatic cancer. Additionally, because expression of OATP1B3 is highest in pancreatitis and stage one adenocarcinoma, which leads to pancreatic cancer, OATP1B3 is a potential marker to diagnose patients with early stage pancreatic adenocarcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Organic Anion Transporters / analysis
  • Organic Anion Transporters / genetics*
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent / analysis
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent / genetics
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / genetics
  • Pancreatitis / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Solute Carrier Organic Anion Transporter Family Member 1B3


  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SLCO1B3 protein, human
  • Solute Carrier Organic Anion Transporter Family Member 1B3